Great Shelford environment news

 

2G3S update

2G3S is a friendly and informal group where visitors and new members are always welcome. Sometimes people just come along for one talk because they are interested in a particular topic, sometimes they would like to join in on a more regular basis.

Upcoming events

On Wednesday 2 November we are having a Strategic Planning Meeting where we will discuss themes such as what issues we feel we should be working on as a group, and how we are achieving our mission statement (see our website). From there we will brainstorm some ideas of what we would like to do next year. It is an open meeting and all are welcome, even if you have never met us before! So, if you fancy getting involved in a Repair Cafe, discussing ideas on how to reduce single use plastic, rewilding a garden, planning a campaign or just listening in to the discussion - come along and join us and input your thoughts and ideas. We’re meeting at 8pm in Cox's Close Community Room, Stapleford. Please email 2G3S (greengroupssss@gmail.com) to let us know if you are planning to come along or even if you would just like to send us some ideas!

Monday 21 November - social cycle ride starting from Stapleford Pavilion at 10 am. Join us for a leisurely ride on quiet roads and traffic-free paths of around 20 miles, to include a coffee stop. Returning to Stapleford by about 1pm. This will be the last until Spring 2023. To book in email greener@sawston.org.

For cycle rides and walks, it is important that you are aware that you attend at your own risk. We do not accept responsibility for any accidents or mishaps that might arise during the activity.

Our book club meets on Thursday 24 November at 8pm to discuss ‘Silent Spring’ by Rachel Carson / ‘Silent Spring Revisited’ by Conor Mark Jameson. This latter title was published in 2012, and focuses on what happened to particularly birds in the 50 years after the original classic ‘Silent Spring’ was published. All welcome – do come along having read both, either, or neither. For venue check our website.

Apologies - the nature walk with John O’Boyle that was advertised to be on 15 October had to rescheduled to 29 October, many apologies if you turned up to find no-one there. There will be no more nature walks until 2023 now.

 

Bart Hommels “Retrofitting your home”

On 3 October we hosted Bart Hommels, talking about retrofitting his own house. He got interested when he started doing an extension, and realised what an opportunity it was to save cash, save carbon, and increase the comfort of his home. After researching and carrying out a full retrofit of his 1940s council house, he has a lovely warm house that is cool in summer and doesn’t emit tonnes of carbon or cost him huge energy bills. The ideal time to do retrofitting is if you are extending, or remodelling a house, then the disruption can all happen at once.

Some actions we can take will save cash and carbon but won’t increase comfort eg solar PV. Heat pumps will save carbon but not save cash or increase comfort. A woodburner increases comfort and saves cash, but does not decrease carbon. The two things that do all three are making your home airtight (but with adequate ventilation), and insulation.

Cheap simple things you can do:

  1. Find where your energy goes – space heating, water, cooking, greedy appliances. Look at your smart meter and your bills to get this information.

  2. Borrow a thermal imaging camera from Cambridge Carbon Footprint to see where you lose heat from your house.

  3. On a windy day see where the draughts are, using a camera as in 2, an incense stick, or a wet hand. Fill gaps with tape, beads, strips etc that are available. Don’t cover your air vents though!

  4. If you have a combi boiler (ie no hot water cylinder), adjust the flow temperature to 65C or less to get a better condensing effect.

  5. Make sure you have modern sensitive controls for your boiler.

  6. Insulate your hot water cylinder as thick as you can.

  7. Lag your pipes, hot and cold ones (to avoid condensation).

  8. Insulate your loft with eg 270mm of rockwool.

  9. Cavity wall insulation.

 

Bart then went on to discuss bigger changes. He stressed the importance of getting a professional whole-house-plan, costed and staged. It is important to work towards a uniform standard around the house – eg don’t insulate one area to a high level and leave another area nearby uninsulated, or there will be condensation and mould in the latter area. He discussed energy standards from the current rather weak EPC regulations, right up to Passivhaus standards (where you don’t need central heating, only an electric heater for very cold days).

Ways to make a house airtight but adequately ventilated were talked about. Ventilation can be passive (trickle vents etc) but tend to be too much in winter and not enough in summer, so there are ways of actively controlling it such as mechanical ventilation with heat recovery (MVHR).

He advocated exterior wall insulation, as it is very effective but doesn’t reduce the size of your rooms, and is not disruptive as underfloor insulation is.

If you’d like to see the slides for his talk, see the link youtu.be/GtffrRf97CI.

If you are interested in green matters and the environment at all levels (individual, local, national, international), send an email to greengroupssss@gmail.com to sign up for our newsletter, or to get more information about our meetings. We are a friendly group and welcome anyone who wants to come along. Also see our Facebook page and our website (type 2G3S into Google and you will find us). 

Helen Hale

Posted Oct 5 2022

 

2G3S environmental update October 2022

What we’ve been up to

 

The talk on 5 September, ‘Heat Pumps Explained’ by Warren Pope, from Peterborough Environment City Trust, gave a wealth of information and links to companies supplying equipment. For a full set of his slides see our website. Basically, he stressed that if you decide to go for a heat pump, use a MCS certified installer, and ensure their proposals meet the design spec MIS 3005 – that is a guarantee that their proposals will keep you warm and work well. He gave us details about costs, longevity, and space needed outside and inside the house for equipment. He suggested alternative low energy heating solutions, such as Warmstone, Laminaheat, and infrared heaters. He also discussed hybrid systems, such as a heat pump, topped up with another energy source for very cold weather. He advised that as the cost of electricity was high and very volatile at present it may be best to wait awhile before installing a pump system, but that in the meantime it makes sense to insulate your home (borrow an infrared camera from Cambridge Carbon Footprint to check where the cold spots are in your house) and to install solar PV if you can. That way you will save money on your energy bills and save carbon emissions, whatever energy source you use. Then if the electricity prices settle you can decide about a heat pump.

The Repair Café on 10 September, as part of Great Shelford Free Church’s Eco Festival, was very busy. Why don’t you bring along your broken electricals, household items, jewellery, pieces of clothing, etc to the next Café, and get a repair done for the price of a small donation rather than having to buy new? Future Repair Café dates are listed below, also details of how to book a repair slot. Plus there’s coffee and cake while you wait!

 

Future Events

Monday 3 October - our conversation evening will complement the one on heat pumps, and is called ‘Low-Cost Energy Saving Measures’ by Bart Hommels, who has retrofitted his own home and featured in Cambridge’s Open Eco Homes. 8pm at  Cox's Close Community Room in Stapleford, just off Church Street (or people can log in via Zoom)

Read what Bart says in the latest 2G3S newsletter:

“My retrofit journey started when I got a home energy display. It made me acutely aware of our energy consumption and I was mesmerised by the stream of numbers. The game of bringing these down quickly caught on! It led to fitting solar panels a year later, another device producing many numbers to look at. When the opportunity arose to extend our 1940s semi, I wanted this to be the starting point of a whole-house upgrade instead of increasing energy consumption. Little did I know this would take many years to complete!

I managed the build and chipped in with specific eco jobs, doing a lot of homework to better


understand low-energy retrofitting practices. The result is almost complete, and I want to share my experience with you because, besides the lower fuel bills, I am over the moon with the transformation in comfort. In winter, we used to huddle in the living room and have blankets within reach, and in summer we would swelter. Now, the whole house is at an even temperature throughout the year: warm in winter and cool in summer, at a fraction of the carbon footprint.

With my talk I hope to enthuse, motivate and empower you to start retrofitting your home and begin enjoying the benefits!”

Saturday 15 October - the nature walk with John O’Boyle is at Dernford lake, from 2pm to 4pm.  See our website for more details. For all our walks, sturdy footwear and appropriate outdoor wear are advised. These walks are intended to raise awareness of our local wildlife sites and are open to all.

Monday 17 October - social cycle ride starting from Stapleford Pavilion at 10 am. Join us for a leisurely ride on quiet roads and traffic-free paths of around 20 miles, to include a coffee stop. Returning to Stapleford by about 1pm. To book in email greener@sawston.org.

For cycle rides and walks, it is important that you are aware that you attend at your own risk. We do not accept responsibility for any accidents or mishaps that might arise during the activity.

Future Repair Cafes: St Ives 8 October; Chesterton 15 October; Cambridge city centre 29 October; Fulbourn 12 November. For more details and to book in repairs, go to cambridgecarbonfootprint.org/repair-cafes/ and click through.

Wednesday 2 November – 2G3S planning meeting for 2023 talks and activities. Please bring along your suggestions.

Other News

You will recall the climate conference Cop26 hosted in Glasgow last November – lots of fine words but not much action. Instead of insulating homes and speeding up renewables our government seems hellbent on increasing oil exploration, which will not provide any more energy for about 30 years and will increase climate change. The next climate Cop, number 27, is in Egypt this year. Developed countries need to commit more to helping less-developed countries deal with the floods, droughts, and other climate disasters that they suffer - we have all been moved by the plight of people in Pakistan who have lost everything, again. Around the same time there is Cop15 for biodiversity, where it is hoped that all countries will sign up to measures to reverse the loss of species eg to protect 30% of the landscape by 2030. As with mitigating climate change, developing countries will need support from the richer countries to enable improvements to be made.

If you are interested in green matters and the environment at all levels (individual, local, national, international), send an email to greengroupssss@gmail.com to sign up for our newsletter, or to get more information about our meetings. We are a friendly group and welcome anyone who wants to come along. Also see our Facebook page and our website (type 2G3S into Google and you will find us). 

Helen Hale

Posted Sept 28

Great Shelford environmental news from 2G3S

 

What we’ve been up to

At the first Repair Café in Whittlesford, which was lively and very popular, we had an information stall and met up with their green group, Eco Whittlesford. We look forward to working with them in the future.

We held another Fruit and Veg Swap at the end of August. Looking at the apple crops round here this year, we should have been holding an Apple Fair!

The Book Club met in August, discussing ‘A Bigger Picture’ by Vanessa Nakate, bringing an African viewpoint to the climate crisis. Last time people read ‘Doughnut Economics’ by Kate Raworth – a thought-provoking book, advocating a new kind of economics that doesn’t just think of growth and GDP. It needs to value human wellbeing and fairness and we need to live within the planet’s means.

Future events

Monday 5 September ‘Heat Pumps Explained’ by Warren Pope, from Peterborough Environment City Trust. Johnson Hall, Stapleford, at 8pm, or by Zoom.

Repair Café at Gt Shelford Free Church’s Eco Festival, Saturday 10 September, 10am to 2pm. To book items in for repair and find out more see our website.

Our next Nature Walk, led by the very knowledgeable John O’Boyle, will be on Saturday 17 September at the Wale Field in Little Shelford from 2pm to 4pm.  See our website for more details. For all our walks, sturdy footwear and appropriate outdoor wear are advised. These walks are intended to raise awareness of our local wildlife sites and are open to all. For the walks, it is important that you are aware that you attend at your own risk. We do not accept responsibility for any accidents or mishaps that might arise during the activity.

There will be a Social Cycle Ride on Monday 19 September, starting from Stapleford Pavilion at 10 am. Join us for a leisurely ride on quiet roads and traffic-free paths of around 20 miles, to include a coffee stop. Returning to Stapleford by about 1pm. To book email greener@sawston.org.

On Monday 3 October our conversation evening will be ‘Low-Cost Energy Saving Measures’ by Bart Hommels, who has retrofitted his own home and featured in Cambridge’s Open Eco Homes.

Other news

Cambridge Carbon Footprint have published a Climate Change Charter with Cambridge City Council. As part of this they have distributed a map of recycling/reusing/repair facilities in the area. You may be able to pick up a paper copy in the library, or look online at cambridgecarbonfootprint.org/charter.

There was an interesting article in the Guardian on 6 August about ways to prevent drought, apart from 2-minute showers, water butts, reusing washing-up water to water your flowerpots, etc. For instance, beavers can be helpful in keeping a river’s water on the land rather than it rushing down a river towards the sea. With all the projected housing development in the SE the Government has to take action now to preserve our rivers and wildlife, keep our households supplied, and keep our food growing.

If you are interested in reading further on environmental matters, two books were recommended in the Cambridge Independent’s Summer Reads list: ‘Sacred Nature: How We Can Recover Our Bond with the Natural World’, by Karen Armstrong; and ‘Net Zero, Food and Farming’ by an East Anglian academic, Neil Ward.

​​

If you are interested in green matters and the environment at all levels (individual, local, national, international), send an email to greengroupssss@gmail.com to sign up for our newsletter, or to get more information about our meetings. We are a friendly group and welcome anyone who wants to come along. Also see our Facebook page and our website (type 2G3S into Google and you will find us). 

Helen Hale

Posted Aug 9 2022

Recycling:

Our waste collection service run by SCDC has one of the highest recycling rates in the country, but I know people get confused as to exactly what to recycle, and how. We’ve probably all been guilty of putting items in the blue bin, hoping they will get picked up by the recycling fairies – so-called “wishful recycling”. This can unfortunately contaminate other waste such that a whole batch cannot be recycled. Here’s a round-up of what SCDC can accept, and how to bin it for maximum recycling potential. Next month we’ll have information about the local specialist recycling services eg for crisp packets, toothpaste tubes, pens, duvets and pillows, and water filters.

What goes in my blue bin?

Paper; newspapers; magazines and envelopes; cardboard; cartons (eg Tetra Pak fruit juice cartons); plastic bags and film wrapping; plastic bottles, pots, tubs and trays (excluding any black plastic which cannot currently be recycled); food and drinks cans; empty aerosols; greetings cards; wrapping paper (no metallic plastic); tinfoil and foil trays; biscuit and sweet tins; glass jars and bottles; shredded paper (must be bagged in a paper or clear plastic bag); metal tubes eg tomato puree.

Containers should be rinsed clean and dry. Squash plastic bottles and cans. Put tops/lids/spray triggers back on to jars and bottles so they don’t get lost during the recycling process, they will get found by hand sorting. Separate plastic wrappers from paper catalogues and so on, likewise for plastic windows that form part of a cardboard box. Batteries must not be put inside the blue bin but are collected for recycling: put batteries including AA and AAA cells, button batteries, size C and D and any laptop or mobile battery in a clear plastic bag and tie to your blue bin lid.

 

DO NOT PUT IN: black plastic food trays; metallic plastic wrapping paper or food wrapping like crisp packets; food; liquids; nappies; clothes, textiles or shoes (take to charity shops or clothing banks); expanded polystyrene or Styrofoam; foam/sponge; non-packaging hard plastic, eg toys and bowls; flat glass or mirrors; Pyrex; kitchen paper and tissues; dirty packaging; paint tins; baby food pouches; blister packs for pills; “compostable” cups or corn starch “plastic” wrapping (put into black bin or compost them yourself); plastic corks; paper with a plastic liner eg instant porridge sachets; trigger pumps with a metal spring in; fruit/veg nets; receipts; plastic toothpaste tubes.

More information at scambs.gov.uk/recycling-and-bins/.

If you are interested in green matters and the environment at all levels (individual, local, national, international), send an email to greengroupssss@gmail.com to sign up for our newsletter, or to get more information about our meetings. Also see our Facebook page or website. 

Helen Hale March 7 2022

Great Shelford environmental news

2G3S summer newsletter

 

News from Great Shelford Library

 

The Friends of Great Shelford Library are funding the purchase of a range of books on climate change and the natural world. Over the next year, we will be buying an eclectic mix including books by Mike Berners Lee, David Fleming*, and biologist E. O. Wilson; books on green growing, and "greenwash"; titles from the Penguin "Green Ideas" series; "spotter's guides" for people who want to explore local wildlife; and a range of children's books for younger readers. It will take a while to source and put the books on the shelves, but by autumn we hope to be ready to roll out the first books in a new display. Helen Harwood

Posted Aug 22 21

Tackling Climate Change and Biodiversity at a Local Level

Monday 6 September Talk by Pippa Heylings Chair of SCDC Climate and Environment Advisory Committee Member of national cross-party Climate Change Task Force for COP 26 7.30 pm Cox’s Close Community Centre, Stapleford (and by zoom)

 

We have all been scared by recent fires, floods and heat waves throughout the world, and by the message of the first part of the sixth Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released on 9 August.

 

Pippa will lead a discussion on how we can respond locally, both as individuals and at a local authority level, especially in the run-up to the global climate summit COP 26 being hosted by the UK later this year. Contact us at greengroupssss@gmail.com to be sent the zoom link, or just turn up on the day.

Posted Aug 22 21

The Great Big Green Week, 18 – 26 September

 

The Great Big Green Week is a national week of activities promoting action on climate change. For more details, see here. To support this locally we are arranging various events including: • Litter picks in the local area weekend of 25/26 September. Litter picking can be fun - all hands on deck! Bags and grabsticks will be provided. Bring your own gardening gloves to protect your hands, and wear something green if you can. If you have noticed a particularly littered locality in the area, let us know and we will try and get there.

 

Fruit and Veg Swap weekend of 18/19 September.

 A virtual interactive talk on climate change and climate justice to support developing countries towards zero carbon. Led by Katie Williams. We are still finalising details of these events - contact us by email or on our Facebook page.

Posted Aug 22 21

Film: The Sequel: What will follow our troubled civilisation? Thursday 4 November, 7.30 pm. Venue details to follow (see website)

 

This optimistic film imagines a thriving, resilient civilization after the collapse of our current economies, drawing on the inspirational work of David Fleming, grandfather of the global Transition Towns movement. It is based on his posthumously published lifework "Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It”. Opening with a powerful 'deep time' perspective, from the beginning of the Earth to our present moment, the film recognises the fundamental unsustainability of today's society and dares to ask the big question: What will follow?

 

Can we develop diverse, convivial and satisfying lives without economic growth? We encounter extraordinary projects and people from four continents, with contributions from Kate Raworth, Roger Scruton, Stephan Harding , Helena Norberg-Hodge, Rob Hopkins, Jonathon Porritt and Peter Buffett.

Posted Aug 22 21

A plug for recycling electrical waste


New collection banks to help Greater Cambridge residents recycle more small electrical appliances have been set up in four housing developments.

The banks for old electrical items are being maintained by the Greater Cambridge Shared Waste Service – a partnership between South Cambridgeshire District and Cambridge City Councils.

Electrical items can’t be put into residents’ recycling bins, and households across Cambridgeshire throw an average of 2.6kg of them away in their black bins each year. In Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire this adds up to around 320 tonnes of e-waste which should have been recycled.

The new banks have been installed at Glebe Farm Drive, Hawkey Road, Osprey Drive and Fawcett Road on the Glebe Farm, Aura, Trumpington Meadows and Abode developments and are suitable for most small items which have a plug or a battery, including phones, toys, kettles and many more. The banks aren’t suitable for TVs, computers including laptops or large appliances such as lawnmowers though – and all these should be taken to a Household Recycling Centre.

The unwanted small appliances will be sorted for re-use and recycling by specialist company Wiser Recycling. Items that are undamaged, uncontaminated and repairable may be suitable for re-use within the UK. Wiser Recycling comprehensively tests the refurbished small appliances to ensure that they are safe and functional. Items that are unsuitable for re-use will get dismantled into their component parts. Many of those components are also suitable for re-use. For example, screens from broken monitors or power units from laptops. Items that fail the re-use screening are sent to local and national specialist operators who will recycle them into new substances or products.

Recycling e-waste is becoming more and more important as global stocks of materials like silver and lithium which are essential for components in mobile phones and other appliances are under pressure from increasing demand.

 

 

A grenade, toilet seat and disco lights are on a list of items that people across Greater Cambridge have wrongly put into their blue bins for recycling.

At the start of national Recycle Week, South Cambridgeshire District and Cambridge City Councils have released a list of the strangest things found inside residents’ blue bins.

The list also includes a decorator’s paint tray and rollers (both covered in paint), metal tape measures, wellies, bricks and a games console controller. None of these things can be recycled via the blue bin and led to recycling being rejected at the Waste Management Park where recycling and waste is sorted. Recent finds that have wrongly ended-up in the recycling plant also include car brake discs, a clothes horse, bowling ball, gas cylinders and lots of cuddly toys. All have come from the recycling wheelie bins of residents.

During Recycle Week this week, residents are being reminded that “it’s in our own hands” to decide how much to recycle and take action to protect the environment. Recycling that people across South Cambridgeshire and Cambridge City put into the blue bin gets sent off to re-processors to be turned into new products, with the Councils receiving valuable income for each tonne. In addition to ensuring less ends up in landfill, this provides additional income to help pay for vital frontline services.
Getting recycling right

Latest research from Recycle Now reveals that more than 60% of UK households are now recycling more than they were a year ago because of environmental concerns.

The research shows that more and more UK households are recycling plastic drinks bottles, cleaning product, toiletry and shampoo bottles, amongst other items including glass jars and bottles and tin cans. Nearly a third of these people cite environmental concerns as the main reason for doing more and others attribute it to an increased awareness of what can be recycled. Whilst the research showed an increase in recycling, it also showed that UK households sometimes incorrectly put items like nappies, wipes and clothing in the blue bin.
 

 

Putting the wrong items in your recycling can mean your blue bin doesn’t get collected, causing an inconvenience. Worse still, it could mean that an entire bin lorry load of recycling gets rejected and ends up heading for landfill.

Here are some products that you may not have known you can recycle in your blue bin:
Clean tin foil. Save up small bits until you can scrunch into a tennis ball size. This keeps it all together as it passes through the recycling plant.
Aerosol cans. Ensure they are empty and don’t crush them. Metal like this is extremely valuable to re-processors and can be recycled endlessly.
Plastic bottles from toiletries and cleaning products – including bleach, shampoo, nail varnish remover, etc.
Cartons, e.g. Tetrapak cartons from juice, soya milk, etc.

Here are some products that definitely shouldn’t go in your blue bin:
Food and liquid remains. A quick rinse or a wipe is usually enough to make your recycling clean. A tip for jars is to half fill with washing-up water, screw the lid on, shake, and empty. Any leftover chemicals or oil should be taken to a Household Recycling Centre.
Batteries. If damaged or crushed, batteries can catch alight and cause fires in the back of bin lorries or at the waste management park. Please put them in a clear bag and attach the bag to your blue bin so they can be disposed of safely
Clothing and textiles. Take these to a clothing bank or charity shop. Even clean worn-out clothes have value and can be recycled this way for other purposes.
Nappies, wipes, sanitary items, kitchen paper and tissues. These are all too dirty and low-quality to be recycled.
Black sacks, even if they contain recycling. Put recyclables in the blue bin loose.